TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa holds on to the No. 8 spot in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II coaches poll as announced by the association office, Monday. After going another week undefeated in Sunshine State Conference competition, this is the third week in a row that UT holds this rank.
The Spartans' 18-1 start is the best since the 2014 season. The 2014 team also kicked off the year with a 13-1 start and went on to finish 34-1 concluding the season as national champions. The Spartans started this season unranked after falling out of the poll for the first time in 21 years in week 1 of the 2017 season.
Tampa leads the SSC in hitting percentage (.281), assists (13.61 per set), and kills (14.46 per set). The offensive prowess is a lot in part to the sophomore duo, Katie McKiel and Sorrel Houghton, who are stride for stride with one another so far this season. McKiel has 256 kills and a .256 kill percentage and Houghton has 247 kills and a .272 kill percentage. The two are third and sixth respectively in the SSC in kills. Junior middle blocker, and two-time All-SSC selection, Taylor Fosler, has also been crucial to the Spartans success and is currently first in the conference with a .400 kill percentage. Defensively this season, Nicole Dominguez has found a new role on the court as libero. The Apopka, Florida native currently sits with 290 digs averaging 4.08 per set and is 7th in the SSC. Sammy Mueller quarterbacks the Spartans at the setting position. For her junior campaign, she has recorded 705 assists, averaging 9.93 per set, 5th in the SSC. The Gainesville, Florida native has stated 11 double-doubles on the season with 208 digs. Finally, the glue to Tampa's roster this season has been sophomore Melissa Elias. Elias recently became the first Spartan in program history to earn a triple-double, in addition to having six other double-doubles this season.
Most recently, the Spartans defeated the Embry-Riddle Eagles 3-1. They then swept conference rival, Florida Southern, before going on to close out the weekend with a 3-1 win over the Saint Leo Lions.
Cal State San Bernardino holds the No. 1 spot, followed by Northern State who also did not move at No. 2. Nebraska-Kearney moves up one spot to No. 3, followed by the reigning national champions, Concordia-St. Paul at No. 4. Ferris State who was previously No. 6 rounds out the top five at the No. 5 position.
Tampa will continue its season with another pair of road matches. First, on Tuesday, the team will travel to Melbourne, Florida where the Spartans take on the Panthers of Florida Tech. The team will then travel again on Saturday to take on the Eckerd Tritons in St. Petersburg. The games are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. respectively.
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